Distillery could be whey forward

Jacinta CantatoreSouth Western Times
Harvey Cheese owners Robert and Penny St Duke have put forward an application to Harvey Shire Council to develop a distillery at their Wokalup location.
Camera IconHarvey Cheese owners Robert and Penny St Duke have put forward an application to Harvey Shire Council to develop a distillery at their Wokalup location. Credit: Harvey Reporter, Jacinta Cantatore

Scotland has whiskey, Japan has sake, and soon Harvey could have its own orange-flavoured “St Dukes” liqueur.

Harvey Cheese owners Robert and Penny St Duke have put forward an application to Harvey Shire Council to develop a distillery at their Wokalup location.

The proposal would see the award-winning fromager use a whey by-product from cheese making to create vodka and gin.

A limoncello-style tipple and orange-flavoured liqueur would also be produced on site under the proposal, using locally-grown citrus.

The plans were discussed at a development services committee meeting on Tuesday and will go before the council next week.

Mr St Duke told the council the distillery would boost tourism and create additional employment opportunities in the area.

He also said it would reduce waste because the whey by-product from the cheese he made on site would be fermented to create the liqueurs.

“Other companies in America and Ireland are doing this, but this will be the first of its kind in WA,” he said.

“And in working with other local businesses and producers, it’s a win-win.”

Mr St Duke said he was ready to start almost immediately once the council gave the final approvals.

“I think this is something unique that people will want to see,” he said.

“I’ve got everything I need to get started.”

He would begin by creating whey vodka and then move towards sourcing locally-grown botanicals to create a gin unique to the region, all under the brand “St Duke”.

Shire president Tania Jackson said the distillery and orange-flavoured liqueur were great ideas.

“It would have a real Harvey flavour,” she said.

“Harvey Cheese is an iconic name for our region. Their cheese has become synonymous with innovation and creativity.

“Robert and Penny at Harvey Cheese have shown themselves to be very innovative and creative with their cheeses and I can imagine their distillery would have an inventive and exciting level of production as well.”

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